I had a rough week last week. All sorts of sh** was going down on all fronts, and yet I found myself in Los Angeles for two afternoons attending a conference for work mid-week. Normally I’d gather my LA pals and paint the town, maybe do a few hours’ worth of record shopping at Amoeba and then stay up til the witching hour (11pm!!!) drinking in some seedy Hollywood or Fullerton or Eagle Rock dive. But I was wiped. I’d heard about this hotel near the LA airport called the FOUR POINTS SHERATON that had an amazing beer bar, so much so that they even dubbed themselves “the beer hotel”. I certainly liked the sound of that, so I booked myself for an evening, and decided the wildest thing I’d do in LA this time around after work is sit in said bar and try out some new beers. Well, turns out that their bar, “T.J. BREWSTERS” (no, really) is exceptionally low on atmosphere but is long on selection. They had 6 fantastic choices on draft, as well as a large selection of dozens on Belgians, British and American micros in bottle. I was going on about 4 hours’ worth of sleep the night before, and reckoned the best medicine for me was to order up a few and then stare at the hockey highlights on Sports Center for an hour or two while I nursed them.
My fave of the night was getting a nice glass of CHIMAY CINQ CENTS (aka Chimay White) on draft to start the evening. I then moved on to a Port Brewing item I will reveal in a future post, and finished my exploration with the VICTORY BREWING STORM KING STOUT, a beer I’ve heard wonderful things about from East Coast bloggers and the Beer Advocate community. I couldn’t believe it was sitting there in a Southern California bar for my purchase –but there it was. I was jazzed. It felt special, like finding AVERY BREWING’s amazing THE REVEREND in San Diego a couple of months ago. The magic didn’t last long. Once I got a taste of this extremely strong, bitter ale, I was already thinking about all the other things I could have ordered instead. Storm King Stout does not taste like your smooth traditional UK stout, no sir – this one’s pumped up with tons of hops, and carries a deep espresso flavor that might be its only saving grace. Very high alcohol (9.1%), and unlike excellent beers like the aforementioned The Reverend and Port Brewing’s OLD VISCOSITY, it totally shows. I sincerely hope this trend of beer-that-tastes-like-whiskey ends soon; there are obviously ways to make great high-ABV beer that don’t have to taste like rubbing alcohol, but this one’s not one of them. I gave it a 4.5/10, which means I’m certainly not trying it again. Any of my peeps out there have a similar experience?